Simon Carr

The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke. In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."

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The Sketch: Electrifying growl shows the authentic voice of the Mail

On the last day of the "first module", we had the recall of Mail editor Paul Dacre to the Leveson Inquiry. We were all in suspense – right until victims' counsel finished his first question and the room reacted with one big "Huh?" What an example of forensic eloquence he made Ed Miliband look; eventually Mr Dacre was able to "refuse to answer" any more questions about the "mystery woman who didn't exist".

The Sketch: Not quite a clean bill of health, but Ed's stable

The important thing was the voice. It had lost the pleady, plaintive thing

The Sketch: How's an honest terrorist to know what's going on?

One after the other, MPs stood up goggling at their individual and collective helplessness

Simon Carr: Seeing him, it's hard to believe the reputation

Off his ground, out of his tank, Dacre looked nervous, defensive, even awed under examination

“It is interesting to note that the shyness and reticence that previously overcame the Hon Member for Shipley have now been successfully overcome.”

Point of order, Mr Speaker: Please stop speaking

Talking is part of his job description. But some people have begun to wish that John Bercow would occasionally shut up.

Simon Carr: Drowsy hum of an education bureaucrat

The Sketch

The Sketch: Meet silent executioner from the Cabinet Office

How long does it take to abolish 16 Agricultural Dwelling Houses Advisory Committees?

The Sketch: Another good day for Ed. Have the shackles come off?

He got away with it, on the whole, there was no animus on the backbenches against the Prime Minister; even David Davis left without asking a question. No Tory really blamed him for his EU-turn on the breakaway group's use of the common institutions like the European Court. The Lord only knows whether that really matters or not.

Simon Carr: All this talk of silos is getting us nowhere

Lord Turner talked of 'macroprudential systemic risk' but no one hurled rotten fruit at him

Simon Carr: No wonder Deputy Clegg hates inequality

The Sketch: As Dave was in Davos with the billionaires, Nick was struggling to make ends meet
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Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
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Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
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The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
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Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
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Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
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The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
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Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
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The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
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Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
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'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada